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We All Need a Little Encouragement

Last week I received a beautiful email from a reader thanking me for critiquing her query. She had been going through a tough time when providence (as she called it) interceded and she read her own words on my blog. The email brought tears to my eyes and reminded me what a special thing a thank you can be.

Too often I hear agents tell authors never to respond to a rejection letter. It only clogs up the inbox. I get that. We all feel overwhelmed when we open our email to see 400 messages download (daily). That being said, I don’t think you should ever hesitate to thank someone who has made a difference, even a small one, in your life.

Just recently I sent an email to a mentor of mine, thanking her for everything she had and has done for me. She was someone I worked with years ago, but think of almost daily. She had a huge impact on the career woman and agent I am today and I couldn’t possibly be more grateful to her. I realized that she didn’t know any of this. For all she knew, she was simply one of the many bosses who passed through my life. We had a wonderful short exchange that has only made me even more grateful for having her in my life.

I’ve learned over the years that no matter what our lives seem to be from the outside, there is a certain loneliness to living. We all (or maybe it’s just me) spend a lot of time second guessing our decisions and concerned if we’re doing the right thing. I’m constantly wondering if I’m doing a good enough job and seeking new ways to be better at everything I do. I want to be the best agent for each of my clients and the best manager for the BookEnds team. I read articles daily on how to do that.

Taking the time to thank someone, to tell someone what they have meant to you, or congratulate someone on the work she is doing is such a small thing, but can have such a big impact. I am ever thankful for the email I received from this author. She turned my day, and possibly my week, around. I hope that there’s at least one moment in each week, if not each day, that I can do the same for someone else.

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5 comments

  1. I completely agree. Recently I found an address for one of my professors who was a mentor to me more than twenty years ago. I had no idea if she would get the letter of thanks that I sent (moved away etc.) but she did. She made a personal phone call to thank me and we reconnected. It is always worth the time to say thank you.

  2. This post really struck a chord with me. I certainly don’t take for granted all the people who have helped me throughout my life, but I doubt I’ve told them nearly as often as I should. This is especially true when it’s not a deliberate act of kindness, but just something that person does all the time.

    So I’ll start here. Thank you, Jessica, for reaching out and helping to educate me (and my fellow writers). It may not seem like much to you, but blogs like this remind me agents are just people looking for good books they can help bring to readers. Such knowledge goes a long way toward taking the sting out of rejections and keeps me moving forward. Whether you know it or not, you’re doing a good thing.

  3. I have to confess I’ve heard ‘don’t fill an agent’s inbox, it will annoy and they’ll never consider signing you’ enough to panic and make me wary of sending too many emails. I’m a regular here who has emailed you in the past, Jessica, with questions for the blog – usually when you’ve commented you have run out of things to post about. I’ve always worried about sending the question (but because you’ve asked I’ve thought it okay). However, the follow up email to say thank you I’ve often not sent (after much gnashing of teeth and often drafting and deleting) because of worry about wasting your time and inbox space. I usually try and add a thank you to my comments, although that’s not very personal.

    You are one of two agents I follow regularly because you are both so generous with your time (the other is Janet Reid). I appreciate what you contribute more than you probably realise (I’ve learnt so much here). You also keep me informed about the industry and what’s happening – something that’s particularly important to me living in a country that doesn’t recognise cozy as a genre. So thank you for what you do here and for what you’ve done for me personally.

    In the future I will know it is okay to send a thanks =)

  4. A simple ‘thank you’ means so much, but I’ve noticed increasingly that people don’t say it. I’m sure to some it seems unfashionable, like holding a door open for someone, or thanking someone for letting you through when driving. A nod or a wave is all it takes. A ‘thank you’ makes us feel appreciated, two tiny words of thoughtfulness can change our whole day, so…thank you, Jessica for your thought provoking blog posts, and the time you take out of your day to write them.

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